We cannot reach the heights of innovation with teams in silos.
Development teams that have succeeded in the implementation of agile software development, often integrate roles such as architects without assembling a whole separate team. This becomes less obvious when it comes to other services: quality assurance team testers, technical consultants and functional support consultants, Product Owners and so on, are largely brought together into separate teams (for example, the product team, the Help Desk…). This is what we call grouping of teams by service area.
At Talentsoft, we have chosen to organise our teams according to projects. Rather than creating our offices by grouping people according to service area, we have opted for grouping by project. Each team therefore has subject matter experts for each field: its own architect, project manager, product owner, head of QA, head of production, help desk consultants and so on.
Having access to all those who share one or several common objectives allows improved communication streams. The benefits being that the quality of both the project and the product are improved. For example, involving developers in exchanges with clients, which the help hesk has every day over the phone, will give meaning to their work. These interactions then allow them to more easily prioritise a development, or review the design with the product owner…
In teams organised by service area, the task of designing would come back exclusively to the product owner. In fact, the developers only see the design of the product through its filter. In our organising by product, the developers have the same level of information as the product owner. The efficiency of the team is therefore increased: each person in the team is in a position to provide a pertinent opinion on the design of the product. Instead of one person assigned to reflecting on each service area, each member of the team is able to handle all the information and bring in his or her ideas.
Free flow of the project’s information is a key to its success. By grouping together all the people who are on one project, and in creating opportunities for them to do well together, we are ensuring a perfect information flow for each member of the team. Knowing the work of the other roles in the team and living it every day gives meaning to each person’s work. For example, once the developer has delivered the product’s parameter setting interface, he or she will immediately be able to collect feedback from the expert in charge of setting the client bases and adapt the interface according to the feedback.
The beauty of the principle of maximum team involvement is that we can communicate it easily to our customers. For each project, clients are involved right from the design stage and are beta testers for developments. This perfectly suits the agile development cycle of our R&D.
Therefore, while continuing to give even more of a sense of meaning to the team’s work, clients can also communicate their HR expertise and obtain a finished product that most closely resembles their everyday experience.